The Jero Plays By Wole Soyinka
The Jero Plays by Wole Soyinka consist of two short plays re-released as a collection in 1973. The Trials of Brother Jero first came out in 1964, while Jero’s Metamorphosis was published two years later in 1966. Both plays satirize Christianity and religious hypocrisy, particularly, the unquestioning devotion that many converts display towards their spiritual leaders, often exposing themselves to manipulation in the process.
As the title suggests, The Trials of Brother Jero is about a charlatan preacher, Brother Jero. Brother Jero is a cunning beach diviner who woos customers (penitents) to his church by using Christian superstition for his own salvation. For him, the church is a business. He says:
‘I am glad I got here before any customers-I mean worshipers.. l always get a feeling every morning that am a shopkeeper waiting for customers.’
Brother Jero is suave while his followers are gullible. He lures people to his church by promising them material gains and promotions through prayer. Chume his assistant often seeks for permission to beat his arrogant wife Amope but Brother Jero disagrees:
‘ I keep my followers dissatisfied because if they are satisfied, they won’t come again..’